Is One Pennsylvania County Luckier Than The Rest?

Written By Kim Yuhl on April 13, 2018 - Last Updated on October 17, 2022
Lucky Charms

While the gambling news in the state consists of the Gaming Expansion Law, mini-casinos, and online gambling, the Pennsylvania Lottery released its 2016-2017 report card. Lehigh Valley Live decided to take a

Lottery residents and visitors to the Keystone State purchased $4 billion worth of lottery products including draw games, scratch offs, and fast plays. On average, prize money paid out equaled 65 cents of every dollar spent.

Each of the 67 counties produced winners. Lehigh Valley Live decided to take a look at which counties seemed “luckier” than others. After analyzing the data, it turned out some counties paid out more money per dollar than others.

The 10 counties with the highest Lotto payouts per dollar

If you spend your days dreaming about how you’ll spend your lottery windfall, you might want to head over to Montour County to make your dreams come true. Out of the $6.6 million in lottery sales, winners collected $6 million. That equates to 91 cents in prize money per every $1 spent on the lottery. By comparison, most slot machines in Pennsylvania casinos have a return to player of 89-90 cents per dollar.

It’s no secret that a lottery is a form of gambling. So it’s a bit ironic that none of the top 10 counties include a casino. And all of them had several townships that opted out of hosting a property during the mini-casino auction process. The top ten also had some of the smallest ticket sales.

The top 10 counties paying out the most prize money per dollar spent are:

CountyTicket SalesPrize Money Per Dollar
Montour$6.6 million$.91
Somerset$22.5 million$.85
Clearfield$33.3 million$.79
McKean$13.6 million$.78
Cameron$2.3 million$.77
Lycoming$42.5 million$.77
Juniata$5.5 million$.75
Perry$11.9 million$.75
Blair$66.3 million$.74
Centre$28 million$.72

How counties with casinos stack up

Some people prefer to think of the lottery as the ticket out of their day job. And we’ve already established that it is a form of gambling.

Which begs the question, how did the 12 counties that host a casino do?

If you like to pick up a lottery ticket on your way home from a day at the tables, you might want to start gambling in Luzerne County. They paid 68 cents of every dollar spent on the lottery to a lucky winner.

Four of the counties with casinos paid out more than or equal to the average of 65 cents. And all but three counties sold more tickets than the top ten.

How the 12 counties with casinos fared:

County Casino Ticket SalesPrize Money Per Dollar
LuzerneMohegan Sun Pocono$136.3 million$.68
NorthamptonSands Bethlehem$77.9 million$.68
EriePresque Isle Downs$86.4 million$.66
FayettevilleLady Luck Nemacolin$54.6 million$.65
BucksParx Casino$169.5 million$.64
DauphinHollywood at Penn National$101.6 million$.64
MontgomeryValley Forge Casino$206.9 million$.63
Allegheny Rivers Casino$415.1 million$.62
PhiladelphiaSugarHouse Casino$544.1 million$.60
Delaware CountyHarrah's Philadelphia$162.7 million$.60
WashingtonThe Meadows Casino$63.4 million$.60
MonroeMount Airy Casino$50.1 million$.59

How the PA Lottery benefits communities

The very first lottery ticket was sold on March 7, 1972, for 50 cents. The game featured weekly drawings and a grand prize of $1 million.

Whether you are a fan of the lottery or not, there is no denying the good it does for the state.

All of the proceeds generated through the lottery benefit programs for older Pennsylvanians. It is the only state lottery where 100 percent of its profits benefit the elderly.

During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the lottery contributed over $1 billion to various elder programs. Since that first day in March, the lottery raised over $24.7 billion for programs, including:

  • Local services, senior centers, and Meals
  • Low-cost prescription assistance
  • Free and reduced-fare transportation
  • Care services
  • Property tax & rent rebates

The next time you buy a ticket, take comfort that while your dream of winning the lottery may not come true, you are making someone else’s life a little easier.

You know what they say … You can’t win if you don’t play. Depending on how you look at it, you can count yourself a winner either way.

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Kim Yuhl

Kim Yuhl is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about poker culture and the online gambling industry. A part-time member of the poker media since 2013, Kim recently sold her marketing business to write full-time while traveling around the world. You can learn more about her work and travels at

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